Ukrainian President Yanukovych left Kyiv and arrived in Kharkiv, the US State Department announced in a briefing on Friday, February 22 (Saturday in Kyiv). According to a State Department official who wanted to remain anonymous, Washington learned this in a telephone conversation with Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Acting Foreign Minister said that Yanukovych went to participate in “a meeting.”
The acting Minister rejected the idea that the president “fled Kyiv.” According to him, such trips are nothing strange and Yanukovych is in a habit of visiting his power base in the East after important political developments. Yanukovych’s departure from Kyiv to Kharkiv was announced by the leader of Maidan’s Self-Defense and Batkivshchyna party MP Andriy Parubiy. Also, rumors to this extent have spread in social networks and mass media, however, with no proof.
On Friday, Viktor Yanukovych and the leaders of three oppositional factions in the parliament, Vitaliy Klichko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok, signed an agreement between the authorities and the opposition on the resolution of crisis in Ukraine. In fulfillment of this agreement, the Verkhovna Rada already passed a law whereby returning the 2004 version of the Constitution. This version, among other things, significantly limits the powers of the president.
On Saturday, the Party of Regions plans to hold a convention of all deputies from South-Eastern oblasts of Ukraine, Crimean Republic and Sevastopol. The opposition fears that there is a possibility a separatist scenario will be played out during the convention.
Translated by Mariana Budjeryn